All Clinton, All the Time

Monday, November 17, 2008
So the speculation is running fast and furious about whether or not President-Elect Obama will appoint Senator Hillary Clinton to be his Secretary of State.

The Washington Post speculates that including Hillary may hurt or help an Obama administration. On the plus side, the Clinton Foundation might work in partnership with the Secretary of State's office in order to more effectively help in areas of infrastructure or health-care development. Conversely, President Clinton's globetrotting and speech making might put Secretary Clinton in a bad place in terms of dealing firmly with other countries.

My own opinion? People who think President Clinton is capable of keeping his fingers out of the Secretary of State's soup - when she lives in the same household - are dreaming. President Clinton's personality and ego will not permit him to take a back seat. His behavior during Hillary's presidential campaign should prove that.

Don't get me wrong, here. I admire President Clinton. He was a reasonably effective president, in spite of his personal indiscretions. He's incredibly bright. His foundation has done some really outstanding work. But I have no illusions about who he is - an alpha male, all the way, and his ability to remain a private citizen in this scenario is questionable at best.

I don't think I can take the next four years listening to how Hillary and Bill are poking the pooch when it comes to U.S. foreign relations. Really, I think I'd rather take out my own eye with a fork.

May I suggest a second go for Colin Powell, instead?

19 comments:

Random Michelle K said...

Regarding Powell, that was my thought, but I was told that he doesn't want the position, but very much *does* want to be Secretary of Education.

But I'll be damned if I can remember who told me that. Maybe my brother.

Janiece Murphy said...

Michelle, I assumed he wouldn't want to serve again.

But I can still dream...

And I think Michelle Rhee would be a fabulous SOE.

Random Michelle K said...

Well, my brother (I'm pretty sure it was him), said Powell was "campaigning" pretty hard for the SoE position.

Good for him.

Nathan said...

I'm fine with Powell anywhere he's willing to serve. I'm pretty sure I don't like the idea of Clinton as Sec. State. I think she'd bring all of her political baggage to the job.

I could, however, get behind her for an appointment to the Supreme Court when the time comes. I've seen over and over again, that despite their politics before being appointed to the court, confirmed Justices seem to "get" just how grave their decisions are. I don't always like the decisions but I really do think the court puts politics aside (for the most part) and decides cases on the merits. I'd be more comfortable with Hillary after an injection of gravitas.

Jim Wright said...

Yeah, I can't see powell - don't get me wrong, I'd love to see him in the position - but I suspect he's a little gun shy at this point, and with good reason.

Clinton, I'm much less enthusiastic over, for the reasons you outlined and for a number of other ones. But the truth of the matter is that Obama owes her and I think this is an acknowledgment of the that political fact.

John the Scientist said...

Please don't suggest Powell. Powell's first tenure as SoS was a disaster, and that was when I first figured out Bush was not an effective leader or, more importantly in a President, a good selector of leaders.

State needs a good housecleaning, and Powell is not the guy to do it. For whatever reason, perhaps due to not being skilled at how to give orders outside of the military command structure (I think he went too far the other way, trying to tone down his military style), Powell did not force his department to do what it needed to do.

State is now in the situation that the British Foreign Office was just after WWI, and you can see the kind of mess their meddling made of the ME. I hope Obama cracks some heads over there, and Powell does not carry a big enough stick.

I'm still thinking about the Hillary bit - she might be able to keep the lid on him to further her own ambitions. Might. I'll have to marinate that one a bit.

Janiece Murphy said...

John, General Powell is a very smart man.

Do you honestly think he's not aware of his own culpability during those years, and has made some effort to change his own perspective as a result?

In the military, responsibility and authority go hand in hand. In the Bush administration, General Powell was given the responsibility and not the authority (which clearly resided with VP Cheney and his insane clown posse). The General would not make that mistake again, I don't think.

My own loyalty to him is (in part) based on my perception of him as someone who learns from his mistakes, as well as my opinion that he is a person of honor.

Both of those qualities would make him a good SOS or a good SOE, in my opinion.

Given my druthers, I'd want the General as the SOS, and Michelle Rhee as the SOE.

Jerry Critter said...

I like Powell, but I think his tenure with Bush has marked him as "damaged goods", but I think he would be good in another cabinet position. Obama would do well by his opinions and experience.

As for Clinton, you will get two for one -- the upsides and the downsides.

John the Scientist said...

I don't think he's unaware, but smart and capable are two different things. He was a capable military officer, I think the jury's still out on his capapbility as a civilian leader. It's pretty hard to change one's command style. Maybe he'd be better the second time around, but maybe the people at State won't even need to go up a learning curve to rung rings around him, even if he does change leadership styles, because they already know his learning styles and how to keep information form him. I'd rather bet on someone new.

Janiece Murphy said...

John, I'm not averse to someone new - just not Senator Clinton. If it's between Senator Clinton and General Powell, I'm going with the General.

Like either of us gets a vote, anyway...

Vanessa said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John the Scientist said...

Good God, Janiece. :D

Jeri said...

Gag.

Janiece Murphy said...

Gag is right.

Sorry, Vanessa. You get the Shovel of Doom™.

*TONG*

Eric said...

I agree with Jerry about the baggage General Powell would bring back to State, and with John's assessments of State's current position and problems. I think Powell would be an excellent addition to another cabinet position or as an advisor in almost any capacity--but at State he'd be hobbled within the Department and at-large with the world by the mistakes he made the first time around.

My biggest reservation with Clinton as Secretary Of State is that I sort of think she might be more effective as a leading Senator. Aside from that, if Obama gives her the job, I think she's a good choice.

I don't think she's a good choice for the SCOTUS, though. I'd like to see Obama appoint some strong legal scholars if he has the opportunity (and he probably will); Senator Clinton has the brains for the job but she doesn't have the resume, in my opinion. Nor do I think SCOTUS plays to her leadership and organizational strengths. In fact, I can't think of a single strength of hers the SCOTUS does play to, and I'm sort of curious as to whether anybody can actually explain why she should be appointed to the Court. (Actually, I can think of one "good" reason: if Obama wanted to effectively get her out of politics. Which seems like a pretty lousy reason from what I guess you could call the moral point of view.)

Anne C. said...

I think what happened to Powell in the SoS postion last time was that he was still following orders -- Cheney/Bush's. I'm sure he learned from that mistake, but I don't know whether he could get past the history.

I don't know about Hillary. She has got to get on board with doing what's right for everyone, not just herself and fast. Bill, as Janiece points out, is not capable of that.

Jeri said...

It's no surprise that I'm not a Clinton fan, so I need to get past that... but in general I don't think that she's a very effective diplomat or consensus builder, and was in particular not impressed with her lack of team play skills following Obama's securing the nomination.

I think that either of those roles being tossed around require those skills - but Sec'y of State in particular requires both a deft hand with interpersonal relationship building and subjugating personal agenda to the strategic goal.

I don't think she's the best fit for that. If a cabinet role is a must because of her party prominence - then I'm with Eric (partially) - push her in a direction that plays to her strengths.

Nathan said...

I missed shovel of doom worthy comment. :(

Give a clue on that other place, please.

Janiece Murphy said...

Done.